East Africa - tips

In short East Africa is much more than a safari in Kenya and Tanzania. It's the oldest part of our civilization, and hunting for "traditional people" is a great adventure. East Africa is a place with a lot of "nerve", and most people who go there keep on coming back. It's a continent where the lack of "civilization" as we know it is all too evident, but where the colour and friendliness of the people more than compensates for any possible flaws.
Highlights

For wildlife, East Africa is justifiable world famous (and expensive!). The possibilities are endless and with the current political situation in Kenya (still recovering from the Al-Qaeda bombings), the tourist flow is likely to fluctuate a bit for some time to come. This should increase competition and reduce the prices, however, safaris are still the ball-game of the comparatively wealthy.

A partly unknown East African gem is Ethiopia. It's the only country on the continent with a still-visible, pre-white history, and noone should leave without enjoying the stelae at Axum or the, even better, rock-hewn churches of Lalibela - both to the north of Addis Ababa. On the slightly negative side, Somalia is a bit like a been-there-done-that experience, but definitely worth going for the experienced traveller.

Photo samples: East Africa.

Slide shows: Ethiopia / Somaliland and Eritrea (and Yemen).

Articles (in Danish): Somaliland Fishing.

Places to avoid As always, avoid the big cities - and Somalia alltogether. Apart from the risk of a Somali abduction, the crime rate is crazy in places as Nairobi ("Nairobbery", Kenya) and Dar-Es-Salaam (Tanzania, better!), so get away as soon as possible.
Seasons Lots of local variation, so better check in the books before you set off. East Africa is generally good from June to August and from December to February, but the rain season varies a lot. In particular the central part around the Ruwenzori Mountains is a bit unpredictable.
Do's and don'ts Not too much. Don't forget that the northern part of East Africa is strictly Muslim, and Muslim rules apply. In the East and South, tings are easier, however, you won't benefit your travel experience by dressing like a freak. Most Africans spend a lot of money to dress properly, so try not to look too much like one of those they try to avoid.
Visa Complicated, and due to the tightening of the European borders, getting visas are becoming increasingly difficult. For most "normal" countries, such as Kenya, Tanzania and so, there are no problems, and should you need a visa, they're easy to get.
Value for money This depends on whether or not you'll join a safari! Without, you can do the region for less than 20 USD a day, while a safri will blow you budget with more than 100 USD a day. East Africa is much too concious about it's wild-life potential and safaris are very expensive. Southern Africa seems to be less touristy and less expensive - in particular if you do it your own (or hired) car.
Others As in the south, getting a car (preferably 4WD) is a good idea, and try to avoid the urban centres. Once on the countryside, Africa is as friendly as anywhere. In addition, few problems are expected for woman travellers.

 

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